INCREDIBLE! Ferrari made a big step forward compared to last season, giving us this unexpected result: an important victory, but as rightly said Maurizio Arrivabene: “Feet on the ground and drive“.
Stopwatch in hand, the SF15-T earned 8 dec on lap performance compared to 12 months ago, including improving the setup with tyres in the long run, as you had already seen since Friday. There are things that have left me puzzled, because with virtually very similar conditions (such as temperature and type of tyres), Ferrari was the only car to have actually improved, reaching the win. Last year, the fastest lap in race was marked by Hamilton in 1’43″066, while today Rosberg scored a 1’42″062 (medium) on the finish. An improvement of 1″ from Mercedes, but it didn’t highlighted in the weekend. Ferrari passed from Alonso’s best lap of 1’44.165 to Vettel’s in 1’43.782. Very positive result. The team did a good job, guessing strategies since Qualifying. It was different for Raikkonen. In Qualifying, he committed an assessment mistake, which is not as World Champion. Arrivabene, however, was direct, clear and precise, pointing out that it was driver’s mistake. This stance bodes well, keeping the team together and makes the driver feel responsible for. Even at the start, he wasn’t perfect, finishing into the group, where it’s easy to touch. And so it was.
Mercedes’ weekend was not errors free. In Q1 the choice to put on the medium tyres didn’t help in race, then forcing them to use the hard. We are only at the second race of the season and it’s too early to make predictions. The ranking gives us the current forces in the field, with two Ferrari and two Mercedes in the first four positions, followed by Williams, Toro Rosso and Red Bull. It’ weird to see the two creatures of Newey lapped. McLaren continues to miss and, despite the leap in quality compared to Melbourne, it remains well behind. Toro Rosso is keeping its promises and the two rookies – Verstappen and Sainz – don’t regret certainly more experienced drivers. At this rate, the fifth place in Constructors Championship will be within their reach. Compared to winter tests and fifteen days ago, Sauber missed.
Sepang, beyond the strategies, gave us some good overtakes, both in top positions and in the rear, with battles also inside same the team, such as at Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Williams. On a real track, Formula 1 gave us the show that we want always to see, recovering what was missed in Australia.
Gian Carlo Minardi